Frank Evans, a World War II veteran and former Democratic Congressman from western Colorado, died in Pueblo on June 8. He was 86.
Evans served in the House from 1965 to 1979, a span that included the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. His biggest accomplishment was bringing a Government Printing Office distribution center to Pueblo; it’s still there today.
Evans faced primary challengers in his last two elections and finally chose to retire rather than face state Sen. Raymond Kogovsek in the 1978 primary.
“I’ll tell you how gracious Frank Evans was. When my wife, Eulice, and I arrived in Washington, D.C., for the first time, he met us at the airport and put us up in his home for a week while I got my feet on the ground,” Kogovsek told the Pueblo Chieftain. “He didn’t have to do that. And the next morning, he walked me to his congressional office and set aside two rooms for me to use as I put together a staff.”
Evans was born in Pueblo on Sept. 6, 1923, and lived in western Colorado most of his life. He interrupted his education to serve as a patrol pilot in the Navy from 1943 to 1946 but returned to finish his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Denver. He started his career as a lawyer in Pueblo and was elected to the state House in 1961.
Rep. John Salazar (D), who represents much of Evans’ former district, eulogized the former Congressman on the House floor Thursday.
“When serving in Congress, Congressman Evans was a fervent advocate for the people and Western way of life in the 3rd district of Colorado,” he said. “Never losing sight of issues that were important to Coloradans, he was also a true gentleman. In the often contentious atmosphere of today’s politics, Congressman Evans was an example to those of us who strive to serve the public.”
Evans celebrated his 58th wedding anniversary with his wife, Eleanor, in April. She survives him, as do four children.